June 1, 2007, Newsletter Issue #15: Stock Photos and Copyright Issues

Tip of the Week

iStockphoto Tip: You've spent years of your life learning how to take a great shot. And, your colleagues keep telling you that you should sell your large collection of photography to online stock sites. Lots of photographers earn a substantial amount of money this way. After all, those great shots in your portfolio aren't doing any good stuck in drawers or in file after computer file. But, don't jump in selling images on the web until you understand some basics about copyright law. Here are some tips from istockphoto.com: *A copyright is basically a collection of rights that apply to the producer or special agent of a piece of work. Copyright law applies to photos as it does to films, audio recordings and musical works. *A license agreement acts as your legal foundation. It gives the user certain usage rights while limiting the number of reproductions, their scope or territory. *A photographer's image is automatically copyrighted once fixed in a tangible medium of expression. *Copyrights are subject to interpretation in a court of law. Additionally, laws change frequently so, as a photographer selling your work, you should stay on top of new copyright settlements and how they affect the law.

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Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.